New plans for vaccination sites at schools to get more young teens inoculated left some parents feeling uncomfortable after Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Wednesday announcement.
“Honestly, if my kid had to be vaccinated, I’d rather take them to the doctor,” East Halrem resident Nerida Panyasir said.
While students at New York City public school’s won’t be required to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the pop-up vaccine site initiative is aimed at inoculating a traditionally “hard to reach” demographic.
The vaccine skepticism PIX11 encountered in East Harlem Wednesday isn’t new and it’s indicative of a bigger challenge ahead; addressing disturbingly low vaccination rates in Black and brown neighborhoods – like this one.
Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine, who also chairs the Health Committee, said while we are generally heading in the right direction, the race to end the pandemic is leaving some behind.
“We’ve made a lot of progress: just over half of New York City residents have now had at least their first shot,” Levine said. “But there’s also real inequality and in some neighborhoods, some vaccination rates are only 30 percent.”
Councilman Levine is addressing vaccine access, and stepping up ongoing efforts to bring them into schools and under-served neighborhoods. But what New Yorkers say also points to a need for more vaccine education, to go along with getting more shots in more spots.
Dr. Deena Adimoolam-Gupta even suggested less of a hard sell approach to mass vaccinations.
“I think what we’ve been seeing is, anytime we mandate something, like masks for example, society tends to have some level of pushback,” Dr. Adimoolam-Gupta said. “So I think highly encouraging our students and parents to get the vaccine and encouraging them by educating them on the side effects and their concerns will be the best route to take.”